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Cannot specify ASIN in Inventory Upload template?

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Hi all, first time poster here. We're integrating LinnWorks order management system with our business and have started to look at Amazon integration. We have defined SKU values in our accounting package, eBay and e-commerce site, and got them all sync'd up with LinnWorks. Now, achieving the same in Amazon seems near impossible.

Our main aim is to change the SKU for about 500 products on Amazon, so they match the SKUs on our other platforms.

I've read some very helpful threads on this board (and the .com one). I've got an Inventory Report with a simple listing of all our products, including Title, Description, Price, ASIN, SKU and several others. Following the advice I ran into here https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/message.jspa?messageID=2380324 I've managed to "change" the SKU for a product:

  • download Inventory Report
  • prepare it for upload, delete columns as advised https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/200388940/280-1203433-0932228?ie=UTF8&ref_=ag_200388940_cont_561
  • alter SKU to the one we want
  • upload inventory report

This achieved creating a duplicate product under the same ASIN as the original product. We could then do another inventory upload with the old SKU and 'x' specified in add-delete to remove the old product.

The problems with this approach:
  • For some reason, Description wasn't put into the new listing properly. This may be a silly transient problem that won't happen again.
  • Many, many little fields cannot be specified using this based report, such as Key Product Features, Manufacturer, Brand Name, shipping weight and similar details.. basically the upload worked but the product is lacking so many key details that it's useless.

So, I see we can provide all those detailed fields with a specific category template. I downloaded the "Home & Kitchen" template, and sure enough it has a scary number of columns (A through EY). But, none of them are the ASIN value.

So, it seems that using a specific category upload template cannot achieve creating a new product under the same ASIN as an existing product, so the trick we can pull using the basic inventory upload cannot be done using a specific category template.

Am I making sense? :) Has anyone got any info to share? Amazon is proving to be a really difficult platform to work with.


Hi Nick

Sorry to hear you are having problems.

using specific category upload template cannot achieve creating a new product under the same ASIN as an existing product

I'm not entirely sure I have taken in exactly what you are after (wish I had more time to read on chew on) but if you are essentially attempting to download, amend where necessary and re-upload, overwriting or creating new, I do not think it can be done.

From other posts and discussions with AMZ SS I am fairly certain there is no download (or downloads) which give all the data for all the fields you want for a new listing.

We have to have our own central database of data from which to create uploads as certain fields cannot be downloaded.

Thank you for the responses. Alison, I have read somewhere something slightly different about the SKU:ASIN relationship. An SKU is associated with one ASIN, yes, but apparently it doesn't hold the other way around. One ASIN can be associated with two SKUs. See attached snap.png, just after I had uploaded my Inventory Report with one SKU changed but the ASIN left alone. The ASIN B00BY6Z7KW is assigned to two products. Just after this, I uploaded another file with the 00-ATQ2-HEK1 SKU and add-delete set to 'x' which permanently deleted the old product from the inventory.

I don't know what you mean by "backload all your existing data with the original SKU". If you mean to fetch by using Inventory Report and use that data as a basis for upload, I will do that but there is still a great deal of data missing.

Otherwise I agree entirely with what you're saying. It looks like I have no option but to fill our a template for our specific category (mostly Home & Kitchen but I've a feeling some of our products stray into other categories) and painfully fill in all those columns of detail by copy/pasting from our existing listings. There is enough data up there that make it worth while copy/pasting, there's no way I'm typing in all the nitty gritty again.

This approach isn't even going to achieve what we want, to maintain our ASIN numbers and product history, but there seems no way around it if we want to intelligently assign SKUs to our products. We have to chuck the old ones out and start again.

I wish we had approached our original uploads to Amazon in this way, using a spreadsheet template, but the staff doing the job at the time were not very technically minded and I probably wouldn't have advised them to do it even if they were. Oh, the clarity of hindsight!

I'll be happy to be proven wrong in any of this, it might make our job a lot easier :)

Hi Nick

backload all your existing data with the original SKU

Premier Range wrote:
An SKU is associated with one ASIN, yes, but apparently it doesn't hold the other way around. One ASIN can be associated with two SKUs.

I thought I'd feed back here as you guys were helpful and this info seems generally useful. I spent a while on the phone with a very helpful Irish sounding guy who I reached by requesting a callback. Click the Help link at top-right of sellercentral.amazon.co.uk, then in the "Shortcuts" box on the right click the rounded "Contact Seller Support" button, drill into Inventory then "Feed or upload issues" and use the option 2 "How do you want to contact us?" .. they phoned me back within a minute and I was talking direct to a guy who sounded like he knew all about their inner workings.

He confirmed that changing your SKU is tricky, but let me in on a couple of tips including an undocumented "feature" of the Custom item loader templates. You can specify the ASIN on those spreadsheets, by putting "ASIN" in column C and the ASIN value in column B. The Data Definition tab says that column C can only specify GCID, UPC, EAN or GTIN, but this is a damn dirty lie.

He went into some detail about the way ASINs work. Our concern is that we want to maintain lots of details about our old products, such as search keywords. These cannot be downloaded from Amazon, however a feature he called "ASIN Authority" means that if you upload a new product under an existing ASIN with a new SKU, it will 'inherit' these fields from the existing product. The thinking here seems to be along the lines of a book store (always seems to be the best analogy to use when thinking about Amazon, I believe that's how they got started). There is an ASIN that represents a product (e.g. a book) but there may be many sellers all selling that book. The ASIN owns some core information about the book.. a description, some search terms, etc. Now when anyone wants to sell that book, they create a product record under that ASIN and can override these fields (description, search terms etc) but they are optional. If not provided, they will 'default' to the values on the master ASIN record, via ASIN authority. That's the trick we are going to use.

In my circumstances, the steps to follow are:

1/ prepare a simple Inventory Loader spreadsheet to upload my new SKU values against the old ASINs. This effectively duplicates our product inventory, creating new product records with very little information other than a price, basic name, condition etc.

2/ use the simple Inventory Loader spreadsheet to specify ASIN and old SKU with add-delete 'd' to drop the stock level for the old SKU products to zero, effectively removing them from Amazon's online catalogue.

At this point, our products are still visible on Amazon, and all the old search terms still work. We do not have to spend ages filling in the Custom inventory loader template for our products, they are now online with the new SKUs, and we can immediately integrate Amazon with our stock management system. If we don't mind keeping a duplicate product record on the system with the old SKU we could walk away now and be done with it.

3/ over time, fill in the custom template, using the new SKU, ASIN in column B, "ASIN" in column C, and very important "PartialUpdate" in the UpdateDelete column. The default is Update, which will overwrite data if you leave a field blank. PartialUpdate will only overwrite data if you have provided a value in each column, perfect for slight touch-ups to data.

4/ ultimately, use simple Inventory Loader spreadsheet to specify 'x' in add-delete column with old SKU and ASIN, to destroy old product records. This will lose and custom field data that you haven't yet copied into the new product records.

I hope this is useful, I'm writing in some haste, got to go get this stuff uploaded so we can get on with the job.


Thank you for that new info - I have kept a link for this thread as it may well be useful to me in the near future.

I have one concern.

If the ASINs you list have been listed by you alone, created by you, i.e. no other seller has been selling these ASINs, then no problem.
If they have been, or still are, sold by other sellers, then you risk the default info extracted from the Amazon 'core' master data being wrong - at least that is the case in my categories of stock.

Yes, that last message hits the nail on the head.
When you "piggy-back" on an existing ASIN there is a very great risk that whoever originally created that ASIN has not been particularly careful about entering the data correctly (and in some cases may even have entered incorrect data on purpose to try to force a duplicate listing for the same product).
This means that when you set up your products against existing ASINS you are vulnerable to the errors in the product catalogue, and take it from me, there are a very great many of them!
I recently made the mistake of block-listing new products using inventory loader. I naively assumed that by providing a barcode number (EAN or UPC), which uniquely identifies a product, I would be listing the correct product - wrong!

Amazon's product catalogue is riddled with ASINs which have been set up against the wrong barcode numbers. Suddenly, although you have listed your products with the correct barcode, you find yourself inundated with orders for products you have never even heard of, let alone stocked!

You then have all the associated grief of dealing with the train wreck that ensues - customer complaints, A-Z claims, negative feedback, etc., never mind the shear amount of time it takes to put it all right.
Amazon will correct these errors when you point them out, but the process of getting them corrected is laborious and time consuming and you just get the feeling that you are doing all the work to correct someone else's errors. Amazon will take no responsibility for these errors. Their line is that it is the responsibility of the seller to ensure that he/she checks for errors in the catalogue before listing.
The only option seems to be to manually check every single listing one at a time for incorrect ASIN matches. It makes you wonder what is the point of using the tools. It's almost as quick to list them one at a time by hand.

This is an enormous problem and for anyone planning to us the bulk listing tools I would offer my experiences as a warning.

At last - thank you - eventually someone else who sees the complete picture re the catalogue mess.

My suggestion - see this thread - https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=70877&start=25&tstart=0
was to campaign for a change to the buying process which at least would resolve some/much of the angry buyer issues

It appears to have been met with much resistance and lack of understanding :-(